In the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, there are many excellent opportunities for those seeking careers in the homeland security field. These include opportunities for gaining experience in the field through internships and job shadowing, opportunities for employment once the right combination of education and experience is achieved, and perhaps most importantly, opportunities for a solid education in the field.

We say these opportunities are the most important because, without an education, one cannot achieve even the lowest level position in the field.

The exact degree that you will need will depend upon your current educational level and, most of all, on what your specific career goals are.

Whatever your answers are in terms of your own educational level and goals, you can, more than likely, find the right school and educational program to meet your needs, all without venturing out of the state.

That’s because Pennsylvania just has so many different educational institutions to choose from and, within those institutions, so many different majors and concentrations. Some schools even allow students to design their own majors, making virtually anything possible and achievable. As long as you are willing to work hard and not take no for an answer, you can make your career dreams come true.

A couple of good schools in the state are the Academy of Court Reporting, located in Pittsburgh, and Alvernia University, located in Reading. Don’t let the name of the latter fool you, however. While the school does offer programs in court reporting, it also has certification programs in criminal justice and in security and investigation. Certifications are not degrees and are not substitutes for degrees, but they can be an excellent way to test the career waters before making a big commitment or to supplement an unrelated education.

The latter school mentioned, Alvernia University, has bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice administration and in forensic science. Other top schools to consider include Glenside’s Arcadia University, which has a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice and a master’s degree program in forensic science, and Berks Technical Institute of Wyomissing, offering an associate’s degree program in criminal justice and in specialized business.

There’s also the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, which has a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.

As you have likely noticed from some of the schools listed above, few schools actually offer educational programs in homeland security specifically these days. While this is not completely uncommon, it is widely becoming more and more so.

This is due to the fact that today’s employers don’t want to hire those with just general knowledge of the field, but are instead seeking those who know the ins and outs of the specific job or career area that they are planning to go into.

Generally, such basic degrees are only recommended in today’s world for those who know they want to work in homeland security but who, despite their best efforts, are still not sure exactly what it is that they wish to do.

Moving back to the fine educational choices in the state, there is also Bucks County Community College, located in Newton, which offers a well respected associate’s degree program in emergency management and public safety, in addition to certification programs in the same and in fire investigation.

Similarly, Butler County Community College has associate’s degree programs in emergency services and in park and recreational management.

Those looking for online options still with a local base might consider either the California University of Pennsylvania, which offers an online bachelor’s degree program in legal studies, as well as traditional bachelor’s degree programs in forensics, corporate and homeland security, criminology, forensic science, and general justice studies, as well as certification programs in crime mapping , and master’s degree programs in legal studies, homeland security (offered online), public policy (offered online), and applied criminology (offered online), or Cedar Crest College of Allenstown, which has an online bachelor’s degree program in general criminal justice.

This same school also offers a concentration in forensic science and a master’s degree in the same as well.

Understand that the educational choices listed here in no way represent all of your choices in the state. In fact, they are just a mere sampling of a ton of excellent choices.